Words That Grow Wings —

Take a Close Look at Certainty

Certainty – what is it?

A sureness, a confidence, a steadiness of conviction is the answer.

That answer begs another question.

How is it possible - in this world of ours, to have certainty about anything?

We come into this world – one and all – naked, crying, hungry and totally dependent. We don’t know anything, not even those who will care for us. From there, we grow to awareness of our surroundings. We learn we are alive, but that it is a temporary aliveness. At some point, we will cease to exist. We don’t know when, how or where, only that it will happen. If this doesn’t describe a total lack of certainty – I don’t know what does.

Yet, with this lack of certainty an inherent part of life, many of us are avid risk avoiders. We avoid taking risks to avoid the uncertainty of the situation. Doesn’t really make much sense, does it?
Life is about becoming adaptable and learning to live with its uncertainty. It’s about learning to overcome the disquiet we feel, embrace the uncertainty of existence, and move forward to build a life for ourselves. Some of us succeed, others not so much. Much depends on our early learning experience. Some of us become even more uncertain and mired in fear. Everything we need to move ahead and thrive lives on the other side of fear.

It is time to put aside fear, and take the risk – and the rewards.

We need to stop thinking in terms of certainty. Certainty does not exist. There is no such thing, and yet we continually talk and act as if it does exist. We are born into uncertainty. From the day we make our entrance, to the day we leave this earth, we will never experience certainty. Certainty is a word used in business transactions and should be left there.

Not knowing is troubling and difficult, but that is the nature of life. We never know what is coming next. It doesn’t matter how calm things may be. Life can change in a moment.

People are born and die every day. People die at all ages, and before their apparent time. Things that should work – don’t. People that should be there for us – aren’t. By now, you get my message. Life is the big unknowable, and it is not for lack of trying to understand it, and make it knowable.

We – humans – have come a long way in understanding the universe, and how it works. There is still no certainty. It’s time to put away our pursuit of certainty. Good fortune, in this life, is on the other side of risk. We live with risk continually; we just don’t talk about it – or admit it.

There is no reason to be risk averse. We are born into risk, and live with it everyday.

By the time we make it into adulthood, we should be ready for anything.

Those of us who take the most risks are usually rewarded with a positive sense of achievement and fortune. I don’t mean that there are guarantees for risk takers. What I mean is, why not take the risk – you have nothing to lose.

Anything you have can be gone in a minute, or an hour or a day. People start over every day due to natural disasters, as well as unnatural disasters. Trying to hold on tight to what you have is no guarantee you will. Life can change in a moment no matter how careful we are. This is the way life works. Some of us just don't like to think about it.

Life’s biggest rewards reside on the other side of risk, the other side of fear. We live with fear and risk aversion because it comes with the territory. This is a good time to think about it.

It is time to think about putting fear aside – take the risk – and the rewards. We already know how to do it; it came with our life. We need to embrace it – and move forward in spite of uncertainty.